Building the Foundations of a Workplace Well-being Program

Posted by Malia Campbell on January 31, 2019

Humble Health is Myriad’s internal health and well-being program. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing a series of articles about where the idea first began and the design process we went through to bring it to life. My name is Malia and I will be your guide.

If you are imagining a well-being program for your company or if you need some new ideas for an existing initiative, please feel free to use these posts as a roadmap. This first post will share few simple steps we took to set the program up for success. The second blog post outlines the ways we have customized our program to meet the needs and preferences of our team. The final blog post will share some of the fun experiences we have designed so far.

A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND

Myriad’s employee engagement department combines elements of human resources and organizational design. We help ensure the employee experience encompasses a sense of play, purpose and potential. Humble Health is one of our formal programs to help employees explore and reach said potential. You can read more about where the idea first started here.

There are a few things that were particularly helpful in its foundational stages that we’d like to share with you. These decisions helped ensure that our program would stand the test of time.

RECRUIT YOUR DREAM TEAM

At the start of every year, Myriad hosts an internal event called Short Talks. Each department presents their goals for the year to help everyone get on board with the company’s strategy. During the 2017 Short Talks, I shared my desire to bring Humble Health to life at Myriad.

After the event, my co-worker Hillary asked if I needed help with the program. Hillary is a Junior Producer at Myriad and she was involved in health education at her university. She shares a passion for health and well-being. A team was born.

Working with Hillary has been a blast. It has also been an opportunity to work with someone who I don’t get to partner with very often. I’ve learned a lot about her and the role of a producer. We each bring our own perspectives and work styles to the table that make our final ideas and outcomes more informed. She works closely with our production team and has a unique understanding of their needs, preferences and schedules. I work most closely with the business team.

If you are designing and launching a new initiative, don’t do it alone. Team up with new people across various departments. It will bring diverse perspective and wisdom to your work and it is so much fun.

Also, leading an internal initiative can be scary at first. You need to deliver good results on a consistent basis for your people. Working with another person brings accountability. In addition to helping the company, I want to be a good partner to Hillary. When one of us is busy, the other takes charge. There is always someone to keep things moving forward.

DESIGN A MISSION STATEMENT

After the team was established, we needed to define why and how Humble Health would strengthen our work and our culture. How would it be unique for our team? Aha! We needed a mission statement.

There was also a big challenge to address. While Hillary and I are both passionate about health and well-being, we are not experts in the field. We didn’t want this lack of expertise to limit our leadership ability within the program. We would be learning about health as we simultaneously led a program about it and needed to be realistic in what we would offer and accomplish. This was a new program, so the mission statement would also help employees understand what they could reasonably expect. Why should they get involved?

Writing a mission statement sounds straightforward but it takes time. Keywords are a great place to start. They help set boundaries, create focus and they highlight a path forward. The process of brainstorming and choosing keywords could take you anywhere between two and five hours, spread over the course of a few days. You’ll write down every word that comes to mind as it relates to your program or vision.

Helpful questions to ask yourself are:

How do you want your program to make people feel? What should their program experience be like? What do you want the program to accomplish? What are the program’s core values? What are the company’s core values? If the program didn’t exist, what might happen? If it did exist, what kind of future would you help create?

Themes will start to emerge, so sort your words into categories. Then bold the words that stand out to you or just seem right.

Our three favorite keywords that emerged were:

Build, Balanced and Community

Next, we defined what the keywords meant to us within the context of the program.

Build

Understanding and achieving good health and well-being is a slow and steady process. We wanted a gradual, experimental and playful program. We wanted to help lift people up and feel their best so they could bring their whole selves to work each day.

Balanced

There are many dimensions of well-being. We wanted the programs, opportunities and events to be diverse and unique. The program also needed to account for the multitude of differences in our human needs, abilities, knowledge and preferences. This was not going to be a one size fits all kind of program.

Community

Employees need social connection to stay engaged at work. We wanted this to be a communal initiative aimed at bringing people together through a shared cause. Employees would work collectively towards positive outcomes for themselves and help educate and support one another as well. Health-based communication and education would come from everyone, not just Humble Health program leaders. A lot of employees at Myriad share a passion and interest in health. We figured we would use that to our advantage — we’d crowd source a lot of the educational information and empower people to take ownership of areas they were passionate about.

Our mission statement then became:

“To build a healthy and balanced workplace community

HURRAH!

Our work was done. Just kidding. We had barely started. We needed figure out how to put the mission statement into action. We also wanted to tailor our program to meet the needs and interests of our team. We’ll talk more about how we did that in our next post.

Until we meet again, take care of yourself and feel free to check out Humble Health’s Twitter Feed. There are links to health-based articles, podcasts, organizational design models, inspiring books, and fun events we have tried out over the years.